You may find occasionally that you have problems you cannot solve from within the system itself. Most commonly, there may be something that is preventing the system from booting at all. This could be a misconfigured boot manager or a root partition that needs to have a filesystem check run on it manually. It could be the result of a broken initrd (initial ram disk), an /etc/fstab file that does not correctly describe the existing filesystems, or various other causes.
There is also the possibility that you have forgotten the root password and you need to change it. This does not, of course, prevent the system from booting, but will stop you from making any changes that need administrative privileges.
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